Psychobiological Factors

"Several million sportive miracles, laid end to end in zoological history,led to the appearance of an order of primates called Homidae. "

Rothbart and Derryberry's (1994) approach to temperament follows the distinction made between temperament reactivity and self-regulation. They define reactivity as "the characteristics of the individual's reaction to stimulus change, which are reflected in the temperamental and intensive parameters of the somatic, endocrine, and autonomic nervous system" (p.61). The authors defined self-regulation as "the process of functioning to modulae this reactivity, including behavioral patterns of approach and avoidance, attentional orientation, and selection" (p.61). This model for the development of temperament combines information about higher order behavioral dimensions with information from affetive and cognitive neuroscience models. The authors conclude by stating that they believe that in the future, "both behavior and neurophysiological components of individual differences will become more highly differentiated and that an approach to temperament characteristics that includes both levels of analysis will continue to contribute to the understanding of the development of temperament and personality" (p.71).

Gunnar (1994) notes that considerable research in the last decade has been directed at understanding the psychobiology of behavior inhibition. As an example, Gunnar-citing reseach by Kagan, Snidman, and Arcus (1992)-notes that 15-20% of all Caucasian children are born with a physiology that biases them to become behaviorally in their second year when confronted with unfamiliar people.

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Peter L. Heineman
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